University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Partner with Evotec to Enhance Drug Discovery
4 April 2006, Hamburg, Germany | Oxford, UK - Evotec AG (Frankfurt Stock Exchange: EVT, TecDAX 30) will partner with the University of Cincinnati (UC) and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (Cincinnati Children’s) to enhance the potential for innovative drug discovery in southwest Ohio.
The Computational Medicine Center (CMC) – an Ohio Third Frontier–funded research collaboration between Cincinnati Children’s and UC – has purchased Evotec Technologies’ ultra-High-Throughput Screening (uHTS) system including cellular imaging technologies to quickly screen drug targets and cells against large quantities of chemical compounds.
This $2.8 million screening system will be housed at UC’s Genome Research Institute (GRI), and will allow Cincinnati Children’s and UC, and eventually researchers from throughout Ohio, to take their drug research many steps further in-house – making it much more marketable.
Evotec Technologies will establish U.S. operations in Cincinnati to support the project.
“The partnership with Evotec will essentially allow us to ‘fill in the middle’ of the drug discovery process,” said Jane Henney, MD, Senior Vice President and Provost for Health Affairs at UC’s Academic Health Center. “We’ll be able to produce well-tested drug candidates here at UC and Cincinnati Children’s that have a much higher likelihood of becoming an actual therapeutic. This equipment will allow us to do what many pharmaceutical companies do. The further we are able to take an idea, the more valuable it is.”
It’s that opportunity for commercialisation that attracted Evotec to Cincinnati and the GRI.
“We visited academic institutions across the United States and found that the quality of science and the entrepreneurial spirit in Cincinnati was just what we were looking for in our first North American academic partner,” said Dr Erich Greiner, Executive Vice President Science at Evotec. “The environment here is quite unique and we’re very excited about this strategic relationship.”
“Evotec Technologies is delighted about providing the GRI with both the technology platform and the know-how to run a state-of-the-art uHTS screening facility in Ohio. We are committed to establish US operations in Cincinnati in the course of 2006,” said Prof Carsten Claussen, CEO of Evotec Technologies. “We will also install an application lab to provide access to our cutting edge drug discovery instruments. We are convinced that our pool of technologies, combined with the strong academic environment, will be highly attractive to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.”
“Evotec, which also specialises in finding new treatments for diseases of the central nervous system, is an ideal partner for Cincinnati Children’s and UC,” said Thomas Boat, MD, Director of the Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation and Chairman of Pediatrics at UC. “Evotec has established itself as a world-wide leader and partner in drug discovery and development,” said Dr. Boat. “Our partnership with them goes much further than the purchase of this equipment. We hope to collaborate with them on future projects in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. We see their presence here as a magnet to attract other companies to the region.”
The UC/Cincinnati Children’s collaboration is unique compared with other academic centres, officials from both institutions say.
“Other centres concentrate heavily on basic science research, but aren’t as focused or equipped to move discoveries through the necessary preclinical and clinical phases,” said George Thomas, PhD, Interim Director of the GRI and Genome Science Department at UC. “Having the same equipment on site that pharmaceutical giants use themselves to further narrow drug targets puts us at quite an advantage. I’d say we are part of a pretty exclusive club.”
Computational Medicine Center (CMC)
A collaboration between Cincinnati Children’s and UC, the CMC uses data and computational systems to prevent, predict and treat disease on a personal level. Funded by Ohio’s Third Frontier Project and the NIH, the center employs a team of research physicians and experts in bioinformatics, genomics, genetics, epidemiology, computer science, math and statistics to improve the health of every generation. The center will be housed in a new 12-story, $125 million research building under construction on the Cincinnati Children’s campus. Additional space will be available in a $109 million research building also under construction at UC’s Academic Health Center.
Genome Research Institute (GRI)
The GRI, founded in 2001 with a gift of land and facilities from Aventis Pharmaceuticals and funded by the Ohio Third Frontier Project, is home to internationally recruited scientists researching the genetic basis of some of the worlds most serious and prevalent diseases, including obesity, heart disease and cancer. Besides Cincinnati Children’s and Evotec, the GRI has partnerships with the Air Force Research Lab, Procter & Gamble, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Ohio Supercomputer Center and Wright State University.
Evotec is an international leader in the discovery and development of new, small-molecule drugs. Both through its own discovery programs and contract research partnerships, Evotec provides research results to partners in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.
In proprietary projects, Evotec specialises in finding new treatments for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS). Evotec has three Phase I clinical programmes: EVT 201, a GABAA modulator for the treatment of insomnia, EVT 101, a subtype selective NMDA receptor antagonist for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and EVT 301, a selective and reversible inhibitor of MAO-B for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
In contract research, Evotec has established itself as the partner of choice for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide. The Company provides innovative and often integrated solutions from drug target to clinic through an unmatched range of capabilities, including early stage assay development and screening through to medicinal chemistry and drug manufacturing.
In 2005, Evotec has generated sales of EUR 80 million with 604 people located in Hamburg, Germany and near Oxford and in Glasgow, UK.
Evotec Technologies GmbH
Evotec Technologies GmbH (ET), subsidiary of Evotec AG, is the world’s leading provider of confocal detection devices (Opera™, Clarina™, Insight™ Cell), cell handling devices (Elektra™, Cytocon™) and ultra-High-Throughput Screening (uHTS) systems (EVOscreen®, plate::explorer™). The Company’s product portfolio is focused on high-end technologies for automated cell biology. Its outstanding expertise in detection coupled with sophisticated automation skills, integrating hardware, software and bioware modules, makes the Company a clear leader for automated cell analysis. Evotec Technologies employs 80 people, primarily at its main site in Hamburg, Germany.
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